Ark of the Winds blows more doubt on Maestri

by Mick Ryan Cerro Torre Last November, using Yosemite speed climbing techniques, Rolando Garibotti, Ermanno Salvaterra and Alessandro Beltrami climbed, alpine-style, the 37-pitch El Arca de los Vientos (Ark of the Winds) 5.11 A2 on the northern flank of Cerro Torre (3102m). The crux was the notorious summit snow mushrooms. They descended by Cesare Maestri´s 1970´s first ascent the Compressor Route. El Arca de los Vientos climbs near the North Face of Cerro Torre route claimed by Cesare Maestri, and climbed with Toni Egger in 1959.This 1959 ascent, was hailed by Lionel Terray as “the greatest climbing feat of all time” but has for the last 47 years been shrouded in doubt. Numerous climbers have claimed the Maestri ascent as a hoax and now there is further evidence. After his teams ascent of Arca de los Vientos Italian-born Argentinean Rolando Garibotti said in this months Rock and Ice magazine (issue 148, March 2006) that, ” Being there, and having read Maestri´s descriptions of the route, we felt it became very obvious that Maestri was never there. Where he described 50- to 60-degree terrain we found vertical rock. Maestri said he placed 70 bolts in the 400-metre section from the Col de Conquest to the west ridge. Had they been there, we would have seen at least one, we found nothing.” Duane Raleigh of Rock and Ice magazine says, “The 1974 ascent of the remote West face by the Italian Casimiro Ferrar and his team of “Lecco Spiders” now stands as the first true ascent of Cerro Torre. You can read some more background on these ascents at the Outside and Mount Everest News websites.